Vietnam sentences journalist to nine years for ‘spreading anti-state propaganda’

Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced a journalist to nine years in prison for “spreading anti-state propaganda.”

Pham Doan Trang regularly published information alleging human rights violations and police brutality. She was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City in October 2020. Her lawyer, Nguyen Van Mieng, said the sentence was “close to the maximum” for such alleged crimes. Mieng said they would discuss an appeal.

The judge in the case, Chu Phuong Ngoc, called Trang’s actions “dangerous for society,” adding that she should be “severely punished.” In a statement, the U.S. State Department said Trang “did nothing more than peacefully express her opinions,” and it called for her release.

The 43-year-old reporter’s hearing was held in a court in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday at least 146 people were behind bars for exercising their basic rights.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW, called the verdict an unacceptable sentence for a brave woman who only spoke her mind. “The imprisonment of such a committed reformer dedicated to promoting human rights, good governance and justice is a searing indictment of everything that is wrong with authoritarian Vietnam today,” he said.

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